You read that right. There are currently 10,000 ‘Bitcoin CryptoPunks’ that have just finished the process of being minted this week. They are seemingly just as advertised: CryptoPunk NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain. And yes, we are already seeing sales of these NFTs in the tens, and even hundreds of thousands of USD.
However, these are far from your ‘run of the mill’ NFTs – and the lack of Bitcoin’s smart contracts will likely be a stark reminder and how valuable Ethereum and other smart contract interfaced chains really are.
Let’s take a look at the latest ‘slice of chaos’ in NFTs.
Not Your Normal CryptoPunks: What NFTs On Bitcoin Are All About
On Thursday, the final Bitcoin Punks were minted via a free, open mint. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they were accessible. But before we get into access and minting, many readers are likely murmuring: “wait a minute, we never had NFTs before Ethereum and smart contracts… what happened?”
Creators are building NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain by assigning what’s called ‘ordinals’ to each satoshi. The ordinals are linked to information like text, images, videos, etc. – effectively creating NFTs on Bitcoin. Essentially, this process is assigning metadata to satoshis.
There is no ‘token standard,’ like Ethereum’s ERC standard, and inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain are fully permanent and immutable. An ordinal inscription psuedo explorer is available, however.
This concept is entirely new and didn’t exist more than a month ago. There is no clear cut first mover, we’re effectively living in square one of Bitcoin NFTs – but that means, of course, that there is also no infrastructure. No wallets built for this, no marketplaces supporting this sort of activity, no real established tools for ‘minting’ these Bitcoin NFTs.
Bitcoin (BTC) is not a blockchain we often mention when talking about NFTs. | Source: BTC-USD on TradingView.com
Mintin’ Ain’t Easy
While we’re very much in a ‘testing’ phase of Bitcoin inscriptions, the interest is clearly palpable – so don’t be surprised to see more tools and infrastructure start to roll out to support inscription creation. In the meantime, how has this emergence of Bitcoin CryptoPunks been happening?
While there was a bot available for a brief time, it’s largely believed that most Bitcoin Punk holders accessed them by being node operators. Holders advised to only hold ordinals in dedicated wallets with no other BTC in them – with users primarily setting up dedicated Bitcoin-native Sparrow wallets.
Are Bitcoin maxis effectively being onboarded to NFTs? Will ordinals be a pillar ‘relic’ of NFTs in the long run, or a short-term fad that will eventually be forgotten? Can ‘Bitcoin CryptoPunks’ eventually serve as influential as OG CryptoPunks? There’s plenty of questions, but it’s always fun to see new innovation and twists in crypto – particularly around the often-touted ‘dinosaur’ in Bitcoin. Only time will tell how it shapes out. In the meantime, for those interested, be safe on OTC trades as the lack of infrastructure means that scammers and finessers run rampant, looking to take advantage of overly-excited potential buyers of this new gen of CryptoPunks.